UNK education abroad program receives $134,000 grant

Robb Crouch
director of public relations, University of Nebraska Foundation; Office 402.458.1142; Mobile, 402.304.3085; rcrouch@nufoundation.org

Kathy Venteicher and Students
Kathy Venteicher of Pierce, Neb. (back row, third from the left) gets a picture with fellow Lopers while exploring Machu Picchu in Peru. Because of her four-month education abroad in Peru, she says she’s now “ready for anything.”

A UNK program to ignite students’ interest in education abroad has received a $134,000 grant from the University of Nebraska Foundation.

The funding supports a multiple step program to motivate and prepare students for an education abroad experience. First, a World Leaders Camp introduces freshmen to the possibilities for meaningful education abroad. It then sponsors a writing competition to stimulate thought and discussion about cultural experiences, with the winners receiving a 10-day travel abroad stipend. Finally, it encourages students to follow through with planning education abroad involving research as part of their experience.

Student Kathy Venteicher of Pierce, Neb., said she’s thankful for UNK’s education aboard program and for the support she received to study four months in Peru. “I never would have imagined I would have grown that much as an individual as well as in my education,” said the senior who studies secondary education. “After having this experience, I am ready for anything.”

The University of Nebraska Foundation’s board of directors awarded six grants totaling more than $760,000 to the University of Nebraska, including the grant to UNK. Each year the chancellors submit proposals for the grants, which are made possible because of unrestricted donations made to the foundation. These unrestricted donations account for one percent of all gifts and are allocated to each campus through this annual grants program.

University President James B. Milliken requested this year’s grant proposals relate to the priorities of the Campaign for Nebraska, a comprehensive fundraising initiative to raise funds for university priorities. Global engagement is a top priority of the campaign

“While the vast majority of gifts to the university are designated for a specific use by donors, we are grateful for these unrestricted gifts that make our grant program available to the university,” said Barbara Weitz of Omaha, chair of the foundation’s grants committee. “It’s inspiring to know these grants will help connect many more students with the world around them.”

Ann Marie Park, coordinator of UNK’s Office of Study Abroad, said studying abroad is important because it signifies a student’s willingness to embrace change and shows prospective employers a graduate’s ability to thrive in new environments.

“Almost everyone who studies abroad is thinking outside their own sphere of reality,” Park said. “Regardless of where students choose to study, their future will be enhanced. They will increase the offerings which they bring to the table when applying for a job or graduate school.”

The University of Nebraska Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization that has connected the dreams and passions of donors to the mission of the university for more than 75 years. In 2011, donors gave a record $172 million in gifts for scholarships, academic programs, medical research and other priorities at the university. The foundation’s fundraising initiative, the Campaign for Nebraska: Unlimited Possibilities, concludes in 2014. For more information, visit campaignfornebraska.org.